WASHINGTON – During this holiday season, Americans must remember the families who lost loved ones to terrorists on Sept. 11, 2002 and must reach out to those less fortunate, President Bush said Saturday.
"The Christmas season brings a deeper concern for fellow citizens in need," the president said in his weekly radio address. "Our country is prosperous, yet we must also remember there are pockets of despair in America."
Whether it be old age, illness, addictions or violence, many Americans are struggling to survive and everyone has a responsibility to help, Bush said, through "individual acts of compassion."
Bush is encouraging all Americans to seek out opportunities to donate and volunteer their time and services to help others.
"By reaching out to a neighbor in need, we make our country a more just and generous place," he said.
Bush also reminded citizens to remember the military men and women who are overseas or here at various ports and bases helping win the war on terror. They must be honored during the holidays, the president said, and everyone must show them love and gratitude for the sacrifices they are making.
"They stand between Americans and grave danger. They serve in the cause of peace and freedom," Bush said. "They wear the uniform proudly, and we are so proud of them."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has yet to sign the deployment order, but the officials have said as many as 50,000 U.S. troops may be sent to the Persian Gulf region in early January to reinforce the 50,000 U.S. military personnel already there.
During a holiday that reminds people to count their blessings, Bush said, people must reflect and remind themselves how symbolic the season is and, although this world is much different than that of ancient Bethlehem where the Bible says Jesus was born, "our need for that hope is still unchanged," and some things remain the same.
"In all the challenges and dangers of our day," he said, "we still seek the promise of peace on Earth."